Disenchanted by high rents and crime, Heinrich Stubbe shut down his shop this past summer after close to three decades on Dalhousie Street.
Now the German chocolatier is back with a new store in Hintonburg (1224 Wellington St. W. at Hinton Ave.). The move has allowed Stubbe to design Stubbe Chocolates from the ground up. Now the entire store is on one level (the kitchens at the Dalhousie location were in the basement); the chocolate makers work out of a new kitchen at the back of the store, while at the front there is a room for separate counters for the truffles, specialty chocolates, and cakes.
“I was sad to realize how many people I disappointed when I decided to move,” says Stubbe. “But I’m also excited to greet my old and new clientele here.” He’s fairly certain that the free parking outside the store and on nearby streets will be a draw to clients who have, for years, had to drive in circles to find parking on the ByWard Market.
City Bites Insider caught up with Stubbe as the finishing touches were being put into place.
The Stubbe Look
For Stubbe, the relocation represents a chance to design every detail of his new shop. Some traditions are untouchable — he promises that the familiar Stubbe colours of navy blue and off-white will inform the interior spaces.
But other details will be improvements on the old location. The kitchen, with its classic marble counters, is now located at the back of the store. This allows greater connections between staff — those dealing with clients can now pop quickly into the kitchen if they need to speak with Stubbe or one of the other chocolate makers about a particular question or request. And the chefs in the kitchen are now just steps from the front of the shop if they want to hand over the latest batch of goodies or have a quick chat with a regular customer.
There is more room, too, for display counters so Stubbe can give separate spaces to cakes, truffles, and chocolate bars, showing each to full advantage.
Keeping the Faith
Stubbe makes it clear that the new shop does not represent an expansion. “I have always wanted to remain small — to be available for every customer,” he explains. The new kitchen remains modest in size, designed so the chefs can make small batches of their signature products.
Meeting the Neighbours
Although he says he was sad to hear from some regulars that they’re disappointed by the move, he’s already looking forward to greeting old and new clients on Wellington West. During the construction process, Stubbe found himself walking around the neighbourhood on a daily basis in September and October. “It has been amazing how many clients I have run into. I never knew they lived or worked in this neighbourhood.”
He says he is also excited to join into neighbourhood events — Wellington West might just be the busiest “event street” in the city — playing host to a variety of art and craft fairs, community fairs, and food happening over the course of a year.
Stubbe’s close affiliation with Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa Culinary Arts Institute continues at the new location, with international students from around the world working at the shop and learning techniques from a master.
Indeed, Stubbe has already stopped by his new neighbour, World of Maps, to buy flag pins for international students to wear on the collars of their uniforms. “This is such a multi-cultural store,” Stubbe explains. “With students coming from so many different backgrounds, we all learn from each other. There is a great exchange of ideas.”
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